In 2004 what was considered at the time to be the best New Zealand side ever toured England. In all three tests they dominated the first two or three days before ending up being whitewashed.
This was a familiar pattern of that era. The same thing happened in Brisbane later in that year, and a few months later in Christchurch against Australia.
This series was so different. Of the 15 days played New Zealand was behind for almost 14 of them. If WASP, or whatever it’s called in the new Australian coverage, was in place the visitors would have sat around 10-20% for most of it.
For example in this test Pakistan passed New Zealand’s first innings total for the loss of just 3 wickets. What would that be; 15%? Or more like 10%?
Pakistan scored four centuries compared to NZ’s two. They took five 5WIs compared to NZ’s one. But New Zealand just hung in there; summed up not only by those last two days but by Watling’s first innings effort here.
As in the first test New Zealand applied some mental pressure when they got the chance. At the start of Day 5 the draw seemed to be the most likely, as the declaration calculations didn’t really appeal.
But by scoring 81 runs in 9 overs they could pull out with more overs remaining that seemed likely and with a high level of safety. More than that though it had shifted the momentum hugely and the Pakistan players must have been wondering what had just happened.
24 hours earlier they had New Zealand effectively minus 14/4; now they had to bat out 80 overs on a fifth day pitch with little chance of winning.
And that pressure told; they were five down by lunch; the Pakistan middle order that had been so dominant throughout the series fell in clumps and the result was inevitable.
This has to be one of the most significant series wins, especially when you consider New Zealand’s test record in Asia.
This was only the second series win away against Pakistan.
New Zealand has never won a series in India.
New Zealand has won just one series in Sri Lanka. That was back in 1984 when Sri Lanka very much had their Learners’ plates on; they had been playing test cricket for three years.
Even the last series in Bangladesh was drawn.
Belief is a hard thing to coach. But when you add in the tenacious draw in Christchurch earlier in the year this side has it. This lot gets test cricket.